The Troops are Coming!

Drawings, Installation, 2010

Napoleon and his first wife Josephine are said to have met for a coffee close to Lake Garda in 1796. At this time Napoleon was a general on his way up; he had just conquered several cities and dukedoms in what is now Italy, but was not yet an emperor. Napoleon had recently married Josephine and was constantly writing passionate love letters begging her to come to Italy to see him, saying he couldn’t stand to be without her. When she wouldn’t come Napoleon prepared to leave for France in order to get her, which would have meant a military catastrophy. At this moment Josephine’s travelling to Italy became a matter of state urgency. Finally, she arrived, but as they sat down to drink coffee at Lake Garda she is the one that notices the white uniforms of the Austrian troops approaching on a distant mountain slope. Napoleon has to quickly gather his troops and Josephine together with her posse must flee under a hail of oncoming shooting.

The Troops are Coming by Linnea Carlsson at Galleri 5 presents two large framed graphite drawings on paper and a naked ticking clockwork. Through pausing in the moment before Josephine discovers the troops, or perhaps before she reveals it, Carlsson points to a fateful duality in the human emotional life; the drive to unite with another person has to coexist with the drive to grow and conquer, and how banal and extreme this duality looks in this setting with Napoleon as the love sick war general. The clockwork reminds us about time pacing forward without telling us the time, and how much time is left before the moment passes by. Standing in-between the drawings, surrounded by the ticking the moment seems suspended and one knows that any second now, the Troops are Coming.



The clock work is from an early century grandfather clock.


The drawings measure 90x64 cm.


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